Prayers for Holy Week

Prayers for Holy Week

Can you imagine the roller coaster of emotions that Jesus’ disciples faced on that very first Holy Week? It seemed that all they dreamed would happen was coming true as the week began, but by Friday they were crushed, scared, and running for their lives. They had no idea that after that darkest of hours they would see resurrection firsthand. But how they must have struggled, and questioned, and weeped together. This year across the world we are forced to be still as we enter into Holy Week. There are no spring vacations, or family Easter dinners, or large and elaborate church services to plan. All of us have a moment to contemplate, to breath it in, to consider what it means to face death and to hope against hope […]

Reflections in a Crisis

  The world has always been broken. But today the cracks aren’t so well hidden, the frayed edges aren’t so neatly tucked away. Our weakness rises to the surface, is laid bare. Our real souls are showing without our idols taking up space. Safety, financial security, health, sports, relationships, fitness, education, our church…all of the things that prop us up have fallen away. The world is turned upside down. Uncertainty and fear slips across borders, isn’t reserved for only the most desperate, and wraps around us all. Economies grind down, the frailty of our health care system glares out at us, the vulnerability of our bodies and souls to unseen and unknown forces can’t be denied any longer. This morning in El Salvador, hungry people spilled out of  barred up […]

Fragile, Handle with Care

A few words from Alexia Rodriguez, Case Manager at the Lighthouse Resource Center as she reflects on the COVID-19 crisis facing El Salvador… When my son was around 4 or 5 years old, he loved to dress up. I put in his room a rack to hang the suits that I was buying him…Darth Vader, Spider Man, Optimus Prime, Bumblebee. But for the longest time his favorite was Captain America. I would be in my room or in the kitchen, and he would suddenly come looking for me saying, “Mom, close your eyes…Taa-daaa!” I would open my eyes, and be “surprised” as he stood proudly in his suit, mask, and shield striking his favorite superhero poses. Since we were playing together, I also had my favorite superhero…Wonder Woman of course! When […]

Faithful

Faithful. I can’t really think of another word to describe how I felt after reviewing and evaluating how things went around here in 2019. We just published our 2019 Annual Report so feel free to take a look. In the meantime, here are a few highlights: Last year we inaugurated the Lighthouse Resource Center. Since opening our doors, 350 clients have walked through those open doors, and 11.14% of them have entered into our “level system” where they have the opportunity to invest more of themselves and receive more of an investment from us. We’ve learned the issues facing these clients are complex, but we are reaching them. For our first year, we are pretty excited to see that members of our community are making decisions for change, finding healing, […]

Walking Together

Last week was a unique opportunity for me (Jon) to spend some time with our addiction recovery support group. We decided to get out of the resource center and into some fresh air while talking about our joys and difficulties. We went hiking through an eco park on the local San Salvador volcano, and then sat down to a nice BBQ lunch. On the surface, it probably doesn’t seem like such a unique thing, but look a little deeper and you will find the true importance of this time. In order to have a good support group, there are many thing you need but honesty and transparency surely top that list. At the beginning, some didn’t want to go and some did. Some thought it would be fun, and others […]

Working Together For Freedom

Don’t you remember being a kid and holding your breath when the teacher assigned group projects? I remember crossing my fingers and hoping to be paired with a competent friend. Working with the right people is the best way to not only overcome a tough challenge, but also to enjoy the process. This past week we were reminded that we truly have teamed up with the right people. Some of the staff from our partner organization, Free The Girls, spent 5 days in El Salvador. It was an amazing and beautiful time of laughing, growing, and learning together. Courtney, Selah, and Abby came to learn, to understand, and to champion the women in our program. They gave them a voice to share their concerns, and they worked with the women […]

Party in the Streets

Just before Christmas break, we had the opportunity to host a huge party in the streets for our community! Part of the goal of opening the Lighthouse Resource Center last year was truly becoming a resource for our community. Our end of the year Christmas celebration included lunch for 500 guests, gifts, music, and lots of encouragement for our clients and neighbors. One of our local partners, Centro Cristiano Internacional, collected donations and provided volunteers to help make the event a success. Our staff and volunteers worked hard to organize details and to cook enough food for our party. Our hope is that everyone in our community felt cared for, encouraged, and loved. That is the message that we are hoping to continue as we move into this next season […]

Ten Years On…

This past November marked ten years since we, the Snyder family, stepped off a plane and into our new lives in El Salvador. See that picture? It was taken of our family shortly after we arrived in El Salvador. A decade on and here we are. Life doesn’t look like we thought it would…but it rarely does anywhere, does it? I think everyone who chooses to live their life on a mission does so with the grand idea that they will change the world somehow, or have some impact that echoes in a profound way. The truth is that it really doesn’t work like that at all. Instead, if we choose to live our lives on mission then the world we step out into is the very thing that changes […]

Planting

“Someone is sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago.”  Warren Buffet is quoted as saying those words, and no doubt his intent was to make a point about business investments. But really, those words can speak to any investment. One thing I have learned over the years is that urban ministry is much more about investing than anything else…more about planting than harvesting. It’s about walking the streets to find that one available piece of fertile dirt, perhaps hidden behind a graffiti covered wall or some barbed wire. It’s about digging deep in my pocket for that seed, then casting it, maybe not even believing myself that it will take root. The planting is hot and exhausting, it’s relentless and it feels like it will […]

Independence Festival

Music blaring over the loudspeakers…carnival games with prizes…balloon animals…the smell of popcorn…dancing and laughter. It sounds like a community country fair, doesn’t it? Now just imagine that fair is not far from downtown San Salvador and that the guests include our clients who are taking the morning off of therapy and job training to celebrate independence. As we closed El Salvador’s independence month, it only seemed fitting to celebrate the independence that our community is finding bit by bit. Whether through progress in a therapeutic setting, or simply learning to depend on someone else small steps are happening. Even the freedom to laugh and enjoy life is worth celebrating. There was lots of laughter at our Independence Festival! Prizes were giving out for the ring toss, bingo, and fishing game […]

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